My goal is to support you in creating joy from the grocery store to your kitchen to your plate.
What my Culinary Nutrition and Holistic Health Philosophy?
If there are health issues that you want to address, some of the best places to look are on your dinner plate and in your grocery cart. Through a culinary nutrition approach, the healing properties of foods can be used to support the body back into balance and vitality. But there is much more to the story than that. If health were all about what we ate, then it would be so simple. But unfortunately, even the “healthiest” people are diagnosed with chronic diseases, and people who have “unhealthly” lifestyles live to be 105 without so much as getting the flu. I believe that food can be incredibly healing, but it is naive to promote the idea that it can solve all of our problems. As I mentioned, if there are health issues that you want to address, some of the best places to look are on your dinner plate and in your grocery cart – but maybe not necessarily in the way we are conditioned to think about a “healthy diet.” These two areas of your life can have a huge impact on your mental and emotional health as well. As such, I continually strive to combine current nutritional research, mental health advocacy, and best practices for health at every size and body positive practitioners to create a truly holistic approach that is grounded in unconditional, nonjudgemental support for wherever you are in your journey of health.
My goal is not to condemn, shame, or alarm you, or to make you feel guilty about what you eat – the food and diet industries do a great job of all those things as it is. Rather, my approach is to get you asking questions about your relationship to food and your connection to your body, and how these may either be positively or negatively impacting your health. My style is not to tell you what to eat and what not to eat, but rather to show you how to incorporate a wide variety of foods into your diet in incredibly delicious ways. My philosophy for healing is rooted in self-care and self-love, as opposed to scare tactics, guilt and shame. When you love yourself, you will be more inclined to make the choices that support your individual health.
A holistic approach to healing is all about creating a sustainable lifestyle that supports your health every day, in the multiple domains that affect your wellbeing. No matter how much you want to make certain lifestyle changes, they simply won’t happen if they are not something realistic for you to implement in your own life! Each person is 100% unique at the biological level, as well as in every other domain of their life – career, family life, relationships, finances, living situation, schedule, stress level, physical fitness, spirituality, mental health, etc. “Health” can never be a standardized, one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about figuring out what works for YOU.
Find Peace With Your Body
It is so important to consider our mental health in creating a healthy relationship with food and a healthy body. I am a passionate advocate for body positivity, the Health at Every Size movement, challenging diet culture, and changing mainstream media’s beauty standards. I am firmly against selling or promoting weight loss. Ever. When it comes to creating overall wellness, I believe it’s much more important to focus your energy on the joy and pleasure of cooking and eating foods, rather than the fear, restriction and deprivation that strict dieting programs promote. Health is not size specific, and your weight is not the best indicator of your health – it’s simply an arbitrary standard that our society has set to determine attractiveness. Health starts with accepting and taking care of the body that you have right now, not after you’ve reached a certain milestone of weight-loss or the end of a 21-day cleanse. I encourage all people to practice self-compassion and feel empowered to create their own definition of what health feels like in their body and mind through intuitive eating. There truly is room for all foods in a balanced diet! There is room for bodies of all shapes and sizes in the definition of health. Through self-awareness and mindful eating practices, eventually you can discover the foods that make you feel your best. Intuitive eating shifts the power from conventional “diet mentality” back into your own hands, so you can learn to respect your body, honour your cravings, and tune into your hunger and fullness cues without any diets/cleanses/fasts (or as I like to think of them: socially acceptable eating disorders).
My Personal Experience Informs My Approach
It can be very difficult to change your lifestyle in a drastic way and to make sense of the conventional and conflicting food and health information out there. For many people, it means unlearning everything they have always known about food and nutrition and grasping a totally new way of cooking, eating, and developing a relationship with their bodies. I completely understand that it can be an overwhelming and scary process! Why? Because I’ve been there too! There was a point in my life where I had to step back and look at everything I was familiar with and decide to make drastic changes in my life for my own health. I always thought I had a good grasp on nutrition and ate a healthy, balanced diet. It wasn’t until I began struggling with my own mental health issues and hormonal imbalances that I started researching more into holistic nutrition and intuitive eating. I discovered many of the guidelines and recommendations for “healthy” eating were actually working against my physical and mental health and contributing to many of my symptoms and disordered behaviours. It was at this time that I also realized there is much more to health than what you eat and what is in your control. There are so many other lifestyle factors (hello stress levels!) that must be addressed during the healing process, as well as external factors that we have completely no control over and just need to learn to let go.
It has been a very gradual, ongoing process of making changes to the way I eat, the products I use, the type of exercise I do, the thoughts that I think, and the way I live my life – and it certainly hasn’t stopped yet! The most important thing to remember is that, for changes to be sustainable, they do not happen all at once and you don’t see results overnight. That’s why fad diets, cleanses, boot camps, and other extreme methods do not work. My philosophy is not about depriving yourself of anything, or making yourself feel guilty for your past or current lifestyle. My philosophy is about loving and respecting yourself enough to stand up for your health and empowering you to seek the knowledge and supports you need for holistic healing.
If my Culinary Nutrition approach sounds like the right fit for you, send me an e-mail and I’d love to support you!
If you’re interested in learning more about the Academy of Culinary Nutrition or becoming a Culinary Nutrition Expert, check out the ACN Website!